These days it’s par for the course for someone to ask, “what do you do?” immediately followed by, “where did you go to school?” 

For me, the underlying connection between my career and undergrad is absent. My four-year degree had me heading down an entirely different career path than the one I’m on now. 

I headed into undergrad sure I’d have a career in media — whether that was in radio broadcasting or behind the scenes at a television studio. I pursued my BS in Mass Communication with a focus in Media Arts, and did internships in both newspaper photography and film editing. 

Then the most recent recession hit just as I entered the job market and the first job I found was in tech support for a software company. I took what I could get and luckily, it worked out in my favor.

That’s where my MySpace HTML tinkering skills proved to be a valuable foundation for technical troubleshooting and I got a taste of what it was like to work in tech. I’d hold jobs in and around software — as a product manager, implementations specialist, account manager — for nearly a decade before the encouragement of a few engineer colleagues to look into software bootcamps.

I’m a coding bootcamp grad along with many others who join each year, with coding bootcamps still exhibiting year-over-year growth since they entered the scene in the early 2010s. With this growth, it’s not surprising to encounter another bootcamp grad on an engineering team, especially in a software ecosystem as small as Boston’s. 

But, 50% of your team? That’s surprising.

An engineering team full of diverse career paths

Today, Vendr’s engineering org is nearly 50% bootcamp graduates. While this was not intentional, I don’t think of it as a coincidence. Whether it’s the wealth of past experiences and insights they bring to the table, or the natural proclivity toward empathy that comes from having walked a mile in a colleague’s shoes, it’s my (entirely biased) opinion that bootcamp grads are well-suited to young start-ups where wearing multiple hats is highly celebrated.

Each day my colleagues’ various backgrounds are on display, whether we’re discussing product design, streamlining development processes, or interacting with other areas of the business, and I relish the diverse insights we’re able to share with one another.

It takes gumption to step off the path your education sets you on and dive head first into a career in a new field. But, career changers are everywhere. Among Vendr’s ranks are a former meteorologist, physicist, social worker, event planner, and chemical engineer. 

What we all have in common is a passion for not settling. For being curious and pushing our own boundaries. For setting aside the fears of “what if?” for excitement of the unknown. As a result, it drives us forward as a team and as a company.


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